New Partners will Sanitize, Localize Games for Middle East

Media firm Rubicon Group Holding has partnered with Modern Electronics Co. Ltd., the sole distributor of Sony products in Saudi Arabia, in order to localize content appearing on various Sony platforms for Middle East users.

United Arab Emirates publication The National (thanks The Escapist) details the plans, which will include dubbing "certain games” into Arabic, adding Arabian characters and eliminating scenes that could run afoul of censors. Rubicon Executive Director Ghassan Ayoubi explained, “Those games that are extra-violent, or have sensitive issues for the region, will be edited for content.”

Ayoubi appeared wary of the “C” word, but used it anyway, stating, "It’s not censoring … it’s tailoring or customising it for the market.”

Rubicon will begin by altering existing (already completed) PlayStation 3 titles, but eventually plans to join the production cycle and brings its expertise to games still in development. The firm expects to work on two to four games per year, with FIFA Soccer 11 and the latest in the Uncharted series, being among the first to receive the Rubicon treatment.

Some titles are so far out from would be accepted in the Middle East that attempts to cleanse them will not even be undertaken. Ayoubi stated, that such games are “off the chart, because they would need reinventing.”

A release on the Rubicon website also indicates that the company would develop its own educational and entertaining games, “based on Arabic culture Storyboards.”

Recent games that never made their way into the UAE, for example, include Heavy Rain, Dante’s Inferno (which wasn’t even submitted to censors), Darksiders, God of War, Grand Theft Auto IV and Mafia II.

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